LA Rams News: Suddenly COVID-19 risks to team are very real once more

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

LA Rams News: Suddenly COVID-19 risks to the team are very real once more

The LA Rams, as all 32 teams in the NFL, have gone to great lengths to minimize the risks of spreading the coronavirus.  While those precautions are in effect, the sense of confidence over the ability of the NFL to avoid any impact has outgrown the ability to do so. The greatest risk of the coronavirus pandemic to the NFL is the ninja-like manner of how the disease is transmitted. Persons can be infected and infectious before any symptoms occur, and before they test positive for COVID-19.

It’s so highly infectious, that a single positive test on any NFL roster can become an instant outbreak. Right now, the worst and recent example of this is the Tenessee Titans, who continue to discover new positive testing among players and coaches.  The total number of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 is now up to 16. That is with all the safety protocols. And that is with no contact with one another as soon as a test was positive.

New England and Kansas City outbreak next?

Today, breaking news reports that starting New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19.  So too has the Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback Jordan Ta’amu tested positive for COVID-19.  Since the protocols for the NFL prohibit travel until the team has confirmed containment of the virus, the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs game has been postponed until travel is safe once more.

The Titans game this week with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been canceled this week and will become their bye week. A wave of positive results from COVID-19 testing hits an NFL team roster hard, and instantly.

LA Rams risk assessment

The LA Rams were aware of the risks inherent in 2020. As such, the team did it’s best to construct the roster to add depth at the positions where the risk of infection is greatest. The team Is carrying 10 offensive linemen, and six defensive linemen, as the close proximity in the trenches carries the greatest risk.  To compensate for the added depth, the Rams have gone with only two quarterbacks on the active roster, and only three inside linebackers as well.

Of course, the NFL created a nightmare for teams by not relaxing the 53-man active roster limit for this season. With that traditional roster limit, a sudden but severe COVID-19 outbreak on any NFL team roster can decimate any hope for competitive play. Once a single person affiliated with an NFL team test positive, that person creates a timeline in their contact history where they risk infecting others.

Rams knew the risks

We’ve discussed it before. Even with adequate depth, the Rams will be significantly and adversely impacted by a sudden outbreak of coronavirus on the roster. How much can the Rams expect if the team must rely upon backup quarterback John Wolford to lead the team for several weeks? Can the team truly compensate if defensive lineman Aaron Donald is assigned to the COVID-19 Reserve list for several weeks?

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Nothing is perfect. The LA Rams did the best with the information and resources at their disposal before the season started.  Much of the risks with positive testing of COVID-19 resemble the risks of player injury. No matter how cautious teams are, and how many safeguards, it can still happen. Staying healthier takes a lot more effort in 2020. But the results are worthwhile. Healthy teams compete for the right to play in the NFL Championship Game.